Nathan Trott’s West Ham United Under 23s coach Terry Westley praised the desire of his Under 23 squad after they came so close to reaching the last-eight of the Premier League Cup at St. James’ Park.
The Premier League 2 squad twice went in front against Newcastle United in the second match against the Magpies in the space of six days, but the hosts eventually took a 3-2 lead and held on to go through to the next round.
Ashley Fletcher had put the Hammers in front from the penalty spot and Declan Rice thought he had won the tie with a header seven minutes from time, but Newcastle goals scored by Luke Charman and two by Sammy Ameobi crushed the visitors’ hopes.
The U23s lifted the trophy last season, and though boss Westley desperately wanted to defend the title this campaign, he was proud of his team’s performance.
“The players are gutted in the dressing room, because they’ve given so much,” he said. “It’s disappointing. We’re the cup holders and we wanted to have a real go at it again, and I think you can see that from the manner in which the players played and the effort we put in.
“It was a terrific game. The way we played first half, we were very good and deservedly went in front. Maybe we should have stretched the lead further.